Ain’t No Sunshine


Hang On Sloopy, Summer Within Reach

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Punxsutawney Phil certainly got it right this year. He saw his shadow on February 2, and as predicted, six-plus gloomy and record-breaking cold weeks of winter ensued.

Days Without Sunlight

Sunshine eluded us for days—even weeks—at a time in the Midwest where I live and elsewhere in landlocked areas of the United States. In Chicago from February through March, The National Weather Service clocked only 11 days of full sunshine. What the Hell?! 

Panic in the Garden

And on top of that, record-breaking cold brought multiple bouts of frost and snow that stemmed Spring blooms and pushed landscaping schedules back like dominos falling. Gardeners are still in a tizzy.

Since ringing in the New Year, the water-cooler talk among my fellow exercisers at my health club has been a lot about the seemingly endless days without sun and warmth and how much it adversely affects our motivation and happiness. I often skipped workouts to stay in bed or stream hours of shows from my couch, while sulking in the grey. 

We’re SAD

Lack of sunshine results in sadness, depression and anxiety for many individuals, according to Healthline.

Without enough sun exposure, your serotonin levels can dip. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of major depression with seasonal pattern (formerly known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD). This is a form of depression triggered by the changing seasons.


And ironically, the anecdote is SUN!

Cleveland Clinic suggests getting 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight each day to boost serotonin levels. 

Can you imagine the sight of us deprived of our biggest star for long periods, seeking out slivers of yellow rays like zombies emerging from caves? 

During our sunshine apocalypse, the amount of diagnosis and treatments of depression by mental health practitioners continues increase, according to Forbes HEALTH

Pyschotherapy Remedies During the Dark Days

According to Greta Nielsen, MA, LCPC and co-owner and Pyschotherapist at Illuminate Therapy & Wellness, “One of the best predictors for your ability to maintain your emotional, mental, and physical wellness during the winter months is to keep the routines and habits you have for the rest of the seasons. Exercise, healthy eating, sleep hygiene, staying connected and engaged in your relationships and roles; be it paid or volunteer work, and having a relaxation practice all contribute to one’s overall wellness.”

Mental Health Month

Fittingly, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has declared May 1-31 as Mental Health Awareness Month.  Visit their website for resources, including a toolkit that sheds light on mental health issues and how to spread the word. 

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My friends, we’re in the final stretch of our lingering winter and abysmal Spring. With May here, we’re inching closer to the summer season and more daily sunlight!

Let the Sunshine In! 

Music Title Credits


Oh No! Another Failed Attempt at New Year’s Resolutions

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Barely half-way through January, and I’ve reneged on most of my commitments for 2022.

I even tried to simplify the ritual by carrying over some from the previous year, adding one or two new ones, just to be legitimate. What were they? Who knows; who now cares? I didn’t even write them down. They were swirling in my head divided between the parts of the brain that record short- and long-term memories, standing by to be extracted at the right intervals. 

Yet I find myself in a state of guilty inertia—dejected, disappointed, depressed and demoralized—my intentions officially retracted.

So how do I move forward? 

Photo by Jens Johnsson on

The universe is filled with signs. Some may call them coincidences; others may see them as unconscious acts of willpower; still others may accept them for what they are in the moment and open their hearts and minds to receive bundles of goodness, inspiration and knowledge.

Just when you think you’re all alone, help is around the corner and often at no cost

Recently, I attended a virtual “Ask & Give” program hosted generously for FREE by a national women’s networking and empowerment organization: Together Digital. The hour-long exchange, titled, “Ready, Set, Manifest,” featured sassy and feisty Lucrecer Braxton, award-winning photographer, digital marketer and founder of SoulSista Plants, who zealously and compassionately woke us up from our New Year’s stupor. Her message: You are not defeated; you should not feel ashamed or weak or inferior; YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE! Instead, go forth and purge more of the tasks and “to dos” you know are doomed, then replace them with true intentions. Additionally, be satisfied with doing nothing. 

Reinforcing that idea, journalist Jessica Yellin, founder and host of her “News Not Noise” podcast dropped an episode presenting Eve Rodsky, lawyer and NYT best-selling author, discussing her new book, Unicorn Space. Eve “defines it as the active and open pursuit of creative self-expression in any form that is fulfilling.” 

“Embrace all the unlikely, surprising, and delightful places where [our] own unicorn space may be found. Creativity is not optional. It’s essential.”

— eve rodsky

Eve goes on to talk about manifesting our own Unicorn Space in a too-busy life. And guess what that requires: The ability to make room for us to ponder, think, empty our minds by getting rid of the unnecessaries, non-essentials and unwinnable activities and misplaced desires. 

Put Yourself in the Present

Then there’s mindfulness guru Tara Brach, whose podcast I listen to regularly and whose books, True Refuge and Radical Compassion, are nestled dog-eared in my bookshelf. Tara invented the practice of RAIN: Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Non-identification. It’s a process to break old habits, like making new year’s resolutions then breaking them! Her recent broadcast with Trisha Stotler, meditation teacher for IMCW, focuses on, “Resilience and Wisdom in an Uncertain World.”

The takeaway is that we can recover from a deeply stressful and troubling time in our world by taking time to live in the moment. I apply this idea to helping me toss aside my resolutions and replace that space with what I can do presently, even if it’s just emptying my mind, flipping through a magazine, listening to music or browsing through online shopping. In other words, I can forget about my resolutions – past and future – and instead refocus my energy on what’s happening around me and how I can make things happen in real time that are more productive and satisfying. 

It’s Alright Now

So today, I’m resolved to accept my abandonment of resolutions without guilt or remorse. It’ll take some work to rewire my brain with this new perspective. And I think I’m going to be okay!

The universe is filled with signs. Some may call them coincidences; others may see them as unconscious acts of willpower; still others may accept them for what they are in the moment.